Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Kids with disabilities in ads really matter to kids with disabilities

This photo was posted in a Reddit group last week with the caption "My Son Seeing Someone In His Shoes." It has since been deleted by the poster (who knows why; some users got suspicious because he tagged Target and Reddit doesn't do hashtags). Whatever! It's awesome. The adorable model is Finley Smallwood, of Eastvale, California, who has cerebral palsy and is an Instagram star.

When Max was a little boy, there were no kids who looked like him in the media. While we have a ways to go with TV and movies, I am happy that today's kids with disabilities are growing up seeing more kids like them in ads and the occasional in-store promotional poster. (You might remember the recent viral photo of a girl in a wheelchair staring at an Ulta ad of a model in a wheelchair.)  This also sends a message to others about our children: yes, they are ad-worthy. To be sure, these promos don't exist to better humanity; they are there to sell stuff. But what young children see is someone who looks like them—or in this case, uses a walker like them—and that can mean everything. 

Children with disabilities get the message that disability is something to proudly display in a giant poster, in a newspaper flyer or wherever the ad is. They get the message of inclusion—just like any other beautiful child, they deserve to be in ads. And they get the message that they matter.

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Thanks for sharing!

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